Summer is just around the corner! Since everyone is ready for fun in the sun, the last thing they would want is problems with their air conditioners. Nobody wants to (literally) lose their cool over an HVAC issue, as it wastes time, money, and fun.
Here is how all homeowners can “keep their cool” these coming months with some AC maintenance:
Stay Cool! AC Maintenance Tips
#1 Cleaning the air filter
Anybody who has ever owned an air conditioning unit knows that neglecting to clean the filter will render the unit useless. A dust-caked filter will prevent fresh air from flowing through and will route dusty air into the evaporator coil. This will make the coil very inefficient at absorbing heat. Once cleaned, you can expect a higher throughput of cool air at up to 15% savings in electricity usage.
#2 Check for damaged wiring
Once in a great while, it is a good idea to completely disconnect the unit to have a look on the inside. If there is melted insulation, burn cables or loose connections, then you will need to call in a professional to clean up this mess. Not only do faulty cables decrease the efficiency of the unit, but it is also a fire hazard.
#3 Clean the outdoor environment surrounding the AC unit
Air conditioners and especially split AC units are susceptible to getting clogged by outdoor debris. Make sure that leaves are cleared, plants or vines are trimmed, and that dust has been swept away. You may need to clean out the debris stuck in the interior using a hose (after it has been disconnected).
#4 Repair or replace the thermostat
The thermostat will dictate that the air conditioner will cool the room to the desired temperature. If the thermostat is damaged in any way, your AC unit will be a power hog and expensive cool air when it is not desired. Mechanical thermostats should be upgraded to digital models for increased accuracy and longevity.
Keep Your Cool! Prevent AC Problems This Summer
#1 Prevent Air Leaks
Not only would air leaks cause cool AC air to escape, but it will also cause unwanted hot air to get inside. Cooling your house in the summer accounts for the large majority of your electricity expenditure, so making sure your house is properly sealed will mitigate your losses. This is one of the first things you should check if cooling effect of your unit is underwhelming.
You will need to check multiple facets of the house in order to determine where the air leaks are. Floors, walls, air ducts and ceilings are the primary culprits. Make sure the sealant in these parts of the house are renewed and that there are no unexpected cracks.
Windows and doors also need special attention to prevent air leaks. Make sure window AC units are properly installed without any gaps. Put sweeps under every door for every room receiving air conditioning. An HVAC professional will be able to examine the weak points of your house during a consultation.
#2 Tripped Breaker Switches
When your AC unit will not turn on, your first reaction would be to call in an HVAC expert to repair your broken machine. One of the biggest causes of AC units failing to turn on is tripped breakers. Air conditioners use massive amounts of electricity that may overload the electrical grid of your house. Check your breaker box to see if any of the switches appear to be abnormal in comparison to the others. If so, turn off that abnormal switch and turn it back on. You should consider hiring an electrician to evaluate whether or not your fuses are sufficient for your AC unit. Always make sure to unplug essential electronics before messing around in that box.
#3 Unclog Drain Line or Plumbing
When the air conditioner absorbs moisture, it will expel the excess water through your plumbing system. If water build up gets too intense, you will have to clean out either your plumbing line or drainage line. Additional drain pans should be placed to collect additional overflow of water. If you leave the drain line unchecked, nasty algae will clog the lines and create buildup in parts you don't want to be filled up with liquid.
#4 Reduce Heat Sources Around The House
Aside from body heat and the Sun, there are factors within your home that contribute to the temperature. Seek out the most heat-generating appliances (like desktop computers) and switch them off during peak heat conditions. Switch off or replace incandescent light bulbs as they put off more heat than LED lights. You may also close the drapes to block direct sunlight.
Ashley Morse is with The Cooling Company which has provided the absolute best comfort in heating and air conditioning for Southern Nevada homes since 2011.